It’s never too late to say, “Happy New Year,” so … Happy New Year! We have a lot to look forward to as we continue to work to deliver transportation plans and projects that improve the quality of life in the Placer region.
In 2018 we were excited to break ground on the first phase of one of the most significant and needed projects in the Placer region, the I-80/SR 65 Interchange Improvements project. While this first phase will improve traffic circulation and enhance safety for the traveling public, it will not remedy the very difficult congestion that we all face when traveling in that area. Additional project phases as well as widening Highway 65 still need to happen. The biggest challenge, as always, is securing the funding we need to keep our roads, bikeways, walkways and mass transit up to date. There is so much to be done and not enough money to go around in the state.
While SB 1, the Road Repair and Accountability Act, brought $21 million in funding to Placer County last year and is expected to bring an additional $179 million in projects to the region over the next nine years, this substantial state-funding resource only provides funding to maintain the roadways and funding and limited funds for expansion of our bike trails and pedestrian facilities. It will not pay for many of the needed transportation projects in our region to address congestion. PCTPA will continue working with the cities and county and other local leaders to establish a plan that will allow Placer region to retain local control of our transportation dollars and deliver on our future transportation needs.
Some of the projects we expect in the future from SB-1 are pavement improvements on Sierra College Boulevard in Rocklin, resurfacing neighborhood streets in the area of Lincoln High School and constructing a multi-use trail in the Dry Creek Greenway in Roseville.
The most exciting news so far this year is the recommendation for Placer County to receive a state grant for filling gaps in sidewalks along Highway 49 in Auburn. The project will make the corridor better and safer for all travelers. It’s part of a larger, multimillion-dollar project that will improve the stretch of highway between Interstate 80 and Dry Creek Road. It is an excellent demonstration of the strong collaborative work between the City of Auburn, Placer County, PCTPA and Caltrans.
Of course, that’s just one stretch of roadway. So many are in need of improvements and we still need to develop a local funding source to supplement state and federal dollars. That’s our challenge in the Placer region. We need to spend effectively, yes, but we also need more to spend on improvements. Our commuters see the signs of this lack of funding every day in our roadways, in the need for more Capitol Corridor trains to the County, and in our commuter buses which are standing room only every morning and afternoon
PCTPA staff and I are looking forward to this upcoming year as we continue to work to meet your transportation needs.